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Exclusive: New DNC Web Ad Lowers Boom on McCain Gambling Ties


The Brody File has learned that the Democratic National Committee is now going after John McCain and what they believe are his questionable ties to gambling lobbyists. The web ad begins Monday but later this week they will start putting the ad up on political, conservative and yes get this….religious websites.

You can start viewing the ad at 2:30 a.m. Monday morning. Click here to see the ad. Why 2:30 a.m.? Well, the DNC is poking fun at McCain because according to a New York Times story over the weekend, one of McCain’s gambling sessions ended around 2:30.a.m. Clever.

Read the DNC release below:

The Democratic National Committee today released a new web video highlighting John McCain’s history of stacking the deck in favor of his favorite gambling industry lobbyists. The video comes on the heels of a new report outlining McCain’s pattern of using his position as the chairman of a key Senate committee to tip the scales in favor of casino lobbyists with connections to his family and campaigns -- even if it meant reversing long held positions.

The video, called “Betting on McCain,” shows McCain stacking the deck in favor of friends and former campaign aides who lobbied for the casinos with business before McCain’s committee. In return, those casino lobbyists organized gambling trips to casinos for McCain (whose reputation as a high roller is well known), steered hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign, and at least 40 of them went to work for or are helping raise money for McCain’s current campaign.

The “new report” the DNC is referring to is a weekend New York Times story about McCain’s ties to gambling lobbyists. Read the story here. Below are a few paragraphs from the long story.

Senator John McCain was on a roll. In a room reserved for high-stakes gamblers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, he tossed $100 chips around a hot craps table. When the marathon session ended around 2:30 a.m., the Arizona senator and his entourage emerged with thousands of dollars in winnings.

A lifelong gambler, Mr. McCain takes risks, both on and off the craps table. He was throwing dice that night not long after his failed 2000 presidential bid, in which he was skewered by the Republican Party's evangelical base, opponents of gambling. Mr. McCain was betting at a casino he oversaw as a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and he was doing so with the lobbyist who represents that casino, according to three associates of Mr. McCain.

Mr. McCain’s spokesman, Tucker Bounds, would not discuss the senator’s night of gambling at Foxwoods, saying: “Your paper has repeatedly attempted to insinuate impropriety on the part of Senator McCain where none exists — and it reveals that your publication is desperately willing to gamble away what little credibility it still has.”

Mr. McCain portrays himself as a Washington maverick unswayed by special interests, referring recently to lobbyists as “birds of prey.” Yet in his current campaign, more than 40 fund-raisers and top advisers have lobbied or worked for an array of gambling interests — including tribal and Las Vegas casinos, lottery companies and online poker purveyors.

For much of his adult life, Mr. McCain has gambled as often as once a month, friends and associates said, traveling to Las Vegas for weekend betting marathons. Former senior campaign officials said they worried about Mr. McCain’s patronage of casinos, given the power he wields over the industry. The officials, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We were always concerned about appearances,” one former official said. “If you go around saying that appearances matter, then they matter.”

The former official said he would tell Mr. McCain: “Do we really have to go to a casino? I don’t think it’s a good idea. The base doesn’t like it. It doesn’t look good. And good things don’t happen in casinos at midnight.”

“You worry too much,” Mr. McCain would respond, the official said.

The DNC has felt for a long time that McCain is being disingenuous when it comes to his connections to lobbyists. But now with the lobbyist angle AND the gambling angle, it sets up the DNC in a situation where they can play the ethics AND moral card. I mean c’mon. You think there’s a reason they plan to put this web up on religious websites?

The DNC knows that McCain’s so called penchant for gambling can hurt him among some social conservatives. It may not play well with other strongly religious voters as well. Indeed, the last thing McCain needs is another problem with the Evangelical base. In this case, the gambling issue could most likely trump the lobbyist issue. I mean it’s not like he’s playing the lottery or bingo or a quick 25 cents slot machine. This is high stakes gambling we’re talking about. Then you throw in the lobbyist angle and you have a dangerous credibility issue. Will voters buy it and will it stick? Does this bother you?

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Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Monday, September 29, 2008 4:00 AM



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